PDA

View Full Version : Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies Extend Intellectual Property Agreement Until 2014




MacRumors
Jun 18, 2012, 03:37 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/18/apple-and-liquidmetal-technologies-extend-intellectual-property-agreement-until-2014/)


In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=130649&p=irol-SECText&TEXT=aHR0cDovL2lyLmludC53ZXN0bGF3YnVzaW5lc3MuY29tL2RvY3VtZW50L3YxLzAwMDExNDAzNjEtMTItMDMwMzI5L3htbA% 3d%3d) made today, Liquidmetal Technologies announced that it has extended its agreement with Apple to effectively license its ongoing intellectual property development for an additional two years.

The agreement, which is funneled through a subsidiary known as Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, provides Apple with a full license to all of Liquidmetal's intellectual property for commercialization in consumer electronics. The original deal required that Liquidmetal submit all of its intellectual property discoveries to the subsidiary through February 5, 2012, but the new amendment effective as of last Friday extends the agreement through February 5, 2014. Under the MTA [Master Transaction Agreement], the Company was originally obligated to contribute to Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a special purpose subsidiary of the Company, all intellectual property acquired or developed by the Company through February 5, 2012, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC is exclusively licensed on a perpetual basis to Apple for the field of use of consumer electronic products under the MTA. Under the Amendment, the parties agreed to amend the MTA to extend the February 5, 2012 date to February 5, 2014.

The foregoing does not purport to be a complete description of the Amendment and is qualified by reference to the full text of such agreement, which will be filed with the Company's next Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/04/liquidmetal_alloy.jpg


Apple acquired the rights (http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/09/apple-acquires-rights-to-liquidmetal-technologies-advanced-metal-alloys/) to Liquidmetal's amorphous metal alloys in August 2010 after having tested the material in the iPhone 3G SIM eject tool (http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/17/liquid-metal-used-in-iphone-3g-sim-tool-next-iphone-too/). But broader use of Liquidmetal's alloys, which offer improvements in strength and durability over current alloys while proving easy to cast into complex shapes, is likely several years off (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/02/apple-unlikely-to-use-liquidmetal-alloys-as-major-design-material-for-several-years/).

Article Link: Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies Extend Intellectual Property Agreement Until 2014 (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/18/apple-and-liquidmetal-technologies-extend-intellectual-property-agreement-until-2014/)



gpat
Jun 18, 2012, 03:40 PM
Where is my Liquidmetal Mac/iDevice?
http://cdn.superbwallpapers.com/wallpapers/meme/shut-up-and-take-my-money-9299-400x250.jpg

1finite
Jun 18, 2012, 03:41 PM
bummer, I was hoping to see it sooner

Santabean2000
Jun 18, 2012, 03:41 PM
Def some excitIng possibilities here. Looking forward to what they decide to push through.

neiltc13
Jun 18, 2012, 03:42 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

DavidTheExpert
Jun 18, 2012, 03:44 PM
Terminator 2.... I hope future iPhones will shatter into a bunch of droplets when you drop them, and then reform themselves when the pieces mold back together.

boshii
Jun 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
But broader use of Liquidmetal's alloys, which offer improvements in strength and durability over current alloys while proving easy to cast into complex shapes, is likely several years off (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/02/apple-unlikely-to-use-liquidmetal-alloys-as-major-design-material-for-several-years/).

Fixed.

So Random
Jun 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

Others had Apple's opportunities.

They didn't bother taking them.

bassanoclapper
Jun 18, 2012, 03:46 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

No way! Apple ninja stars for Christmas, kids :)

[or super strong and lightweight gadgets in a year or two]

Illusion986
Jun 18, 2012, 03:55 PM
Im just interested to see if apple will do something magical with it!

WildCowboy
Jun 18, 2012, 03:57 PM
Fixed.

Thanks.

TallManNY
Jun 18, 2012, 04:02 PM
If this didn't have the cool name "Liquid Metal" would we even pay any attention to it? I mean this has been used as a sim ejection tool and that is it so far. And it was only used then just so Apple could check it out.

Yes it allows somewhat harder metals. But even the aluminum Apple uses now has so far been hard enough for most purposes. And that is a really soft metal. I'm not really sure if there is anything to see here.

knewsom
Jun 18, 2012, 04:03 PM
There's an obvious reason they bought the exclusive license, even though they're not using it. ...it's to keep anyone else from using it.

Jobsian
Jun 18, 2012, 04:06 PM
Where is my Liquidmetal Mac/iDevice?
Image (http://cdn.superbwallpapers.com/wallpapers/meme/shut-up-and-take-my-money-9299-400x250.jpg)
lol I love how this image has devolved from being well-liked to becoming possibly the biggest downvote magnet on this site

Arran
Jun 18, 2012, 04:09 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

That's what I was beginning to wonder. They're certainly taking their time.

Perhaps the sim ejection tool was a trivial application in a released product intended to deflect complaints of patent-sitting?

Hastings101
Jun 18, 2012, 04:12 PM
lol I love how this image has devolved from being well-liked to becoming possibly the biggest downvote magnet on this site

It's gotten so old, it was funny the first two or three times... after a couple hundred it's just time to move on.

Consultant
Jun 18, 2012, 04:12 PM
Terminator 2.... I hope future iPhones will shatter into a bunch of droplets when you drop them, and then reform themselves when the pieces mold back together.

More like Apple fighting the terminator robots with liquid metal weapons.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 04:13 PM
If this didn't have the cool name "Liquid Metal" would we even pay any attention to it? I mean this has been used as a sim ejection tool and that is it so far. And it was only used then just so Apple could check it out.

Yes it allows somewhat harder metals. But even the aluminum Apple uses now has so far been hard enough for most purposes. And that is a really soft metal. I'm not really sure if there is anything to see here.

Far less expensive to inject liquid metal into a mold than to cnc machine a block of metal.

So - what will be seen- in theory - is lower prices (ha ha) or more Apple profit.

Stockholders win either way.

Rocketman
Jun 18, 2012, 04:14 PM
I find it hard to believe the SIM eject tool is the one and only component they have made with the tech to date. We just don't hear about the others, and they are slowly added as opportunities and development warrants.

It may be a subset of the technologies, and the processing methods that facilitates, are already being applied to RMBP units.

It would be cool if they would make announcements on 2-3 examples.

Rocketman

Giuly
Jun 18, 2012, 04:20 PM
iPhone SIM Eject Tool - the most advanced of its kind, yet. :rolleyes:

Glideslope
Jun 18, 2012, 04:27 PM
....and people wonder why the backs of those iPhone 5 images "looked different".

Anyone into Wireless Charging? :cool:

hashholly
Jun 18, 2012, 04:29 PM
Wonder when we'll see it more prominently in apple products....

Consultant
Jun 18, 2012, 04:35 PM
Far less expensive to inject liquid metal into a mold than to cnc machine a block of metal.

So - what will be seen- in theory - is lower prices (ha ha) or more Apple profit.

Stockholders win either way.

Tablet pcs were thousands of dollars.
People thought Apple tablet will be >$1000.
But Apple introduced $499 iPad.

RalfTheDog
Jun 18, 2012, 04:39 PM
If this didn't have the cool name "Liquid Metal" would we even pay any attention to it? I mean this has been used as a sim ejection tool and that is it so far. And it was only used then just so Apple could check it out.

Yes it allows somewhat harder metals. But even the aluminum Apple uses now has so far been hard enough for most purposes. And that is a really soft metal. I'm not really sure if there is anything to see here.

Amorphic metal has been a goal of manufacturers for decades if not longer. Metal tends to fail where crystals intersect. If you cool a metal down fast enough, metals don't form crystals. The problem is, even if you drop molten metal into liquid nitrogen, the outside cools fast enough to be amorphic, however, the inside remains flawed. The only solution before Liquid Metal was to make very thin strips of laminated metal, then glue them together. (This was suboptimal.)

Liquid Metal is one of the coolest inventions in the last 100 years. I hope they can get the production speed up to something useful. (I would be willing to bet, production speed is the reason Apple has not used them for anything significant yet.)

Millah
Jun 18, 2012, 04:39 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

So, the only opportunity to innovate is by following Apples footsteps exactly?

The opportunity for innovation, if anything, increases. Because now competitors will have to innovate THEMSELVES if they want to truly compete with Apples industrial design. That kind of pressure is what causes creative sparks within creative individuals. And if they truly think the only way to innovate and compete is by copying Apples material and fabrication process, then that is the exact opposite of innovation.

Every other company had the exact same opportunity as Apple to spot the potential with this alloy and put it to good use.

TallManNY
Jun 18, 2012, 04:49 PM
Amorphic metal has been a goal of manufacturers for decades if not longer. Metal tends to fail where crystals intersect. If you cool a metal down fast enough, metals don't form crystals. The problem is, even if you drop molten metal into liquid nitrogen, the outside cools fast enough to be amorphic, however, the inside remains flawed. The only solution before Liquid Metal was to make very thin strips of laminated metal, then glue them together. (This was suboptimal.)

Liquid Metal is one of the coolest inventions in the last 100 years. I hope they can get the production speed up to something useful. (I would be willing to bet, production speed is the reason Apple has not used them for anything significant yet.)

Hmm, well I'm willing to be educated. However, people are discussing making laptops out of this stuff and I would like to point out that aluminum laptops are already very thin and also very strong. Yes, they scratch and could even dent. But the metal bodies certainly don't "break" and the form is rigid enough.

And getting production speed up and cost down is more than just a hurdle. It is the whole game when we are talking about consumer devices that Apple wants to sell in the millions.

The sim extraction tool did not seem to me an appreciably better technological feat than the common needle that people have sewn with for thousands of years. Making hard, thin metal objects was, I thought, something we already had nicely worked out.

gpat
Jun 18, 2012, 04:54 PM
lol I love how this image has devolved from being well-liked to becoming possibly the biggest downvote magnet on this site

That appears to be true. I don't get how a simple image, that reflects the concept I want to represent, could lead someone to vote me down. What a rotten system.

m0ssie
Jun 18, 2012, 04:57 PM
for their own applications. It just may be a while off; requiring further R&D before making such a radical design implementation, and they just don't won't other companies to gain an edge. IMO, if Apple didn't think there was innovative advancements to be realized for their own company, and there was no benefit to gain on their competitors with the technology, they would cared less about other companies using the technology.

IMO, Apple is seriously considering using the technology if they consider it worth while. Apple is probably in a holding pattern while more R&D is being done on whether it's beneficial.


Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 05:00 PM
Far less expensive to inject liquid metal into a mold than to cnc machine a block of metal.


Not sure if serious. :confused:

You do understand that pretty much any metal can be mold-injected right ?

TMay
Jun 18, 2012, 05:02 PM
Amorphic metal has been a goal of manufacturers for decades if not longer. Metal tends to fail where crystals intersect. If you cool a metal down fast enough, metals don't form crystals. The problem is, even if you drop molten metal into liquid nitrogen, the outside cools fast enough to be amorphic, however, the inside remains flawed. The only solution before Liquid Metal was to make very thin strips of laminated metal, then glue them together. (This was suboptimal.)

Liquid Metal is one of the coolest inventions in the last 100 years. I hope they can get the production speed up to something useful. (I would be willing to bet, production speed is the reason Apple has not used them for anything significant yet.)

At the time Apple purchased the original license, there was only a single machine suited to production. I have not heard that there have been any other machines built, though I suspect that there have been a few.

SgtPepper12
Jun 18, 2012, 05:05 PM
Liquid Metal is one of the coolest inventions in the last 100 years.
So you thought about the coolest things that have been invented in the last 100 years, and concluded that Liquid Metal ist one of the coolest inventions? I don't even

Millah
Jun 18, 2012, 05:06 PM
The sim extraction tool did not seem to me an appreciably better technological feat than the common needle that people have sewn with for thousands of years. Making hard, thin metal objects was, I thought, something we already had nicely worked out.

Ummm....you seemed to have missed the point entirely. Apple didn't use it to make some fancy amazing new sim tool. They used it to field test their ability to actually manufacture things with this alloy. It had nothing to do with making a better sim tool. Lol

ellsworth
Jun 18, 2012, 05:08 PM
Still waiting for my liquid gun-metal macbook pro to arrive.... C'mon and hurry up.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 05:11 PM
Not sure if serious. :confused:

You do understand that pretty much any metal can be mold-injected right ?

Than why is Apple cnc machining the notebooks as opposed to mold injection? The cost of injection is what I remember reading as an advantage for LM technology.

That said, not sure if we will see anything near term (or long term) for that matter).

ArtOfWarfare
Jun 18, 2012, 05:16 PM
Does no one else find it odd that they chose to extend the license 4 months after the original one expired?

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 05:18 PM
Very unique casting performance compared to casting regular metals.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 05:21 PM
So - to get equivalent performance one has to forge a billet and than machine it - costly.

LM technology allows injection molding - far cheaper and near forged benefits.

At any rate that is my understanding.

pacalis
Jun 18, 2012, 05:24 PM
iPhone SIM Eject Tool - the most advanced of its kind, yet. :rolleyes:

Amazing. The iSIM iEject iTool.

It's {insert long pause} revolutionary.


{insert longer pause} Magical.

It's simply the only {look away, pause, look toward} iTool you'll ever need.

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 05:25 PM
Than why is Apple cnc machining the notebooks as opposed to mold injection? The cost of injection is what I remember reading as an advantage for LM technology.

Because CNC machining is another technique ? My engine blocks in both my vehicules were mold injected, my laptop was CNC machined.

Are you really serious ? You do realise "liquid metal" is not liquid ?

Macclone
Jun 18, 2012, 05:27 PM
So, the only opportunity to innovate is by following Apples footsteps exactly?

The opportunity for innovation, if anything, increases. Because now competitors will have to innovate THEMSELVES if they want to truly compete with Apples industrial design. That kind of pressure is what causes creative sparks within creative individuals. And if they truly think the only way to innovate and compete is by copying Apples material and fabrication process, then that is the exact opposite of innovation.

Every other company had the exact same opportunity as Apple to spot the potential with this alloy and put it to good use.

Samdung copies Apple, so they would have no use for it.

Mak47
Jun 18, 2012, 05:28 PM
I'd like to see them replace MacBook keys with this. It's still exceptionally lightweight, would have a nice look and wouldn't develop the shine that the current plastic keys get after some use.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 05:33 PM
Because CNC machining is another technique ? My engine blocks in both my vehicules were mold injected, my laptop was CNC machined.

Are you really serious ? You do realise "liquid metal" is not liquid ?

It is injected molded - like a plastic - requires little additional fabrication.

RalfTheDog
Jun 18, 2012, 05:36 PM
Because CNC machining is another technique ? My engine blocks in both my vehicules were mold injected, my laptop was CNC machined.

Are you really serious ? You do realise "liquid metal" is not liquid ?

I hate to tell you this, however, it is. The glass in your windows is also liquid.

TallManNY
Jun 18, 2012, 05:36 PM
Ummm....you seemed to have missed the point entirely. Apple didn't use it to make some fancy amazing new sim tool. They used it to field test their ability to actually manufacture things with this alloy. It had nothing to do with making a better sim tool. Lol

Well now I'm feeling bad. I'm not sure I even noticed the sim tool when I openned my iPhone 4. I certainly have no idea where it is now. I did, however, just open my sim tray using a paper clip.

Since this was just a field test, I wonder if Apple feels like LM passed? I like the argument above that this was a way to be able they made the first LM commercial item and maybe this protects some of their legal rights. It certainly helped funnel some cash to the LM company. Though I'm not sure how much one would pay for a paper clip replacement.

entatlrg
Jun 18, 2012, 05:40 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

What's your point?

What do you suggest they do?

Sit and wait for others to copy them?

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 05:45 PM
I hate to tell you this, however, it is. The glass in your windows is also liquid.

Amorphous.

RalfTheDog
Jun 18, 2012, 05:49 PM
Amorphous.

Gazoontite!

Mac365
Jun 18, 2012, 05:50 PM
I hate to tell you this, however, it is. The glass in your windows is also liquid.

Glass is not a liquid or a solid, it is an amorphous non-crystalline solid.

mobi
Jun 18, 2012, 05:50 PM
Far less expensive to inject liquid metal into a mold than to cnc machine a block of metal.

So - what will be seen- in theory - is lower prices (ha ha) or more Apple profit.

Stockholders win either way.

Agree...They may be prototyping, but far away from production environment.

RalfTheDog
Jun 18, 2012, 05:54 PM
Glass is not a liquid or a solid, it is an amorphous non-crystalline solid.

From a thermodynamic perspective, it is liquid. Most people I know, think of it as neither solid nor liquid, however, that is not much fun.

newbididewbidie
Jun 18, 2012, 05:55 PM
If you take the SIM removal tool that is made from Liquid Metal and use a pair of wire cutters to cut it, you will generate a very noticeable spark. Does anyone know why? I don't and I am curious.

CIA
Jun 18, 2012, 05:56 PM
It's probably a mixture of both Apple flexing it's cash reserves to prevent others from using the tech, and also Apple genuinely being interested in using the product.

If we do see it, I'll predict at first it will be in places you wouldn't expect. Super durable hinges for laptops, things that get stressed a lot and wear out fast. Later moving to complete products using it. (iPhones, iPad, Laptops...)

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 06:03 PM
From a thermodynamic perspective, it is liquid. Most people I know, think of it as neither solid nor liquid, however, that is not much fun.

Amorphous is a non-crystalline solid. The plain fact is, Liquid Metal still needs to be melted down to be mold injected, same as any other crystalline metal. The temperatures at which this can be done might be different, but the fact remains that you can mold inject aluminum or steel or iron (cast iron ring a bell ?).

I was only pointing out this little factoid to the poster in question.

RalfTheDog
Jun 18, 2012, 06:08 PM
Amorphous is a non-crystalline solid. The plain fact is, Liquid Metal still needs to be melted down to be mold injected, same as any other crystalline metal. The temperatures at which this can be done might be different, but the fact remains that you can mold inject aluminum or steel or iron (cast iron ring a bell ?).

I was only pointing out this little factoid to the poster in question.

You don't NEED to melt it down, it just takes around 65 million years less time if you do.

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 06:16 PM
If we do see it, I'll predict at first it will be in places you wouldn't expect. Super durable hinges for laptops, things that get stressed a lot and wear out fast. Later moving to complete products using it. (iPhones, iPad, Laptops...)

Sim ejection tools ? ;)

----------

You don't NEED to melt it down, it just takes around 65 million years less time if you do.

I'd call that a need.

usarioclave
Jun 18, 2012, 06:19 PM
Maybe the iPhone 5 back is LM. Drop it and see if it bounces.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 06:19 PM
Amorphous is a non-crystalline solid. The plain fact is, Liquid Metal still needs to be melted down to be mold injected, same as any other crystalline metal. The temperatures at which this can be done might be different, but the fact remains that you can mold inject aluminum or steel or iron (cast iron ring a bell ?).

I was only pointing out this little factoid to the poster in question.

Liquid Metal is NOT crystalline - that is the point of its properties.

KnightWRX
Jun 18, 2012, 06:20 PM
Liquid Metal is NOT crystalline - that is the point of its properties.

I'm pretty sure that's what I said too. :rolleyes:

Chalifornia
Jun 18, 2012, 06:21 PM
If you take the SIM removal tool that is made from Liquid Metal and use a pair of wire cutters to cut it, you will generate a very noticeable spark. Does anyone know why? I don't and I am curious.

This is a total guess, but it might be because zirconium is partially Pyrophoric when fragmented by the cutting shock.

Apple Corps
Jun 18, 2012, 06:30 PM
I'm pretty sure that's what I said too. :rolleyes:

Well, your not so "tongue in cheek" ridicule about LM not being a liquid does not add clarity.

LM is processed to a plastic / liquid / whatever state it is called and injection molded. It has the properties of a forged product that has been machined but at the lower cost of injection molding.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: - that is the point I am trying to make as to why Apple may use it.

Santabean2000
Jun 18, 2012, 07:11 PM
There's an obvious reason they bought the exclusive license, even though they're not using it. ...it's to keep anyone else from using it.

That makes no sense. If Apple sees no value in it, why would they feel threatened enough to want to block others from accessing it?:confused:

There must be a plan in place and Apple is just waiting until the conditions are right to release x product. ;)

kdarling
Jun 18, 2012, 08:24 PM
Every other company had the exact same opportunity as Apple to spot the potential with this alloy and put it to good use.
Samdung copies Apple, so they would have no use for it.

Actually, Samsung was first by a long shot...

Samsung started using LiquidMetal (tm) in 2002 on their phones for fracture resistant hinges and scratch tolerant trim.

Samsung continued using LM on their phones for years, culminating in a dual-SIM luxury phone (http://m.luxurylaunches.com/gadgets/9402_samsung_ego_phone_has_some_very_impressive_features.php) mostly made of LiquidMetal back in 2008 that cost $1800.

Two years later, in 2010, Apple bought up the perpetual rights to LiquidMetal for consumer electronic devices, thus denying anyone else its use on phones.

the8thark
Jun 18, 2012, 08:49 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.
Which is nothing different to what every other IT company out there does. But I agree old news, we all know every IT company does this.

Jjgibb0
Jun 18, 2012, 09:00 PM
Apple has a recent patent to use liquidmetal in a fuel cell battery. They are in the verge of a battery that will last 30 days continuous in your iPhone and no heavy metal. Very green tech.

----------

Apple also recently hired an amorphous metal scientist to develop liquidmetal. It's not just to block competitors. Apple has made a large investment and will definetly expand use of material. Watch LQMT tomorrow on this recent news.

ixodes
Jun 18, 2012, 09:16 PM
Perhaps Apples been too busy to fully analyze the possibilities. After all they've got an awful lot of R&D going on. At least it sounds that way after listening to Tim Cooks comment about more exciting "new" products due to be released before years end. That would explain the relatively short extension.

Once they've identified a use that meets their ROI, then it'll be easy for them to extend it for a longer more appropriate term. Conversely if they decide not to use it then this extension has served it's purpose.

roocka
Jun 18, 2012, 09:30 PM
One CNC machine can only produce eight MacBook Airs per day. That is one every three hours when running non-stop. Now imagine you can injection mold liquidmetal into a mold and have casings made in 5 minute cycles. Imagine how much more can be produced in less time. Imagine the energy savings. Imagine the savings in man-power. One person can operate two machines.

This is why Apple wants the technology. That and it is Awesome.

Abazigal
Jun 18, 2012, 09:39 PM
I think it is stupid.

Who knows what opportunities liquidmetal could have offered for use in technology, had other companies the opportunity to experiment with it. Instead, we have apple squatting on it and using it to make glorified paper clips. :rolleyes:

Yes, I said paper clip because a paper clip was exactly what I used to open up my sim tray. Apple paid millions for something I can get for free from my office?

Seriously, Apple, if you are not going to use it for anything meaningful, at least be gracious enough to give up the patent to someone who might? :(

turtlez
Jun 18, 2012, 10:07 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

lol. Think back a years ago when the iPad1 was first announced. Everyone but Apple was calling it tampon or oversized toy that will never sell. Now look, everyone is doing their version of the iPad. If anyone is hindering innovation it is not Apple.

TallManNY
Jun 18, 2012, 11:53 PM
Apple has a recent patent to use liquidmetal in a fuel cell battery. They are in the verge of a battery that will last 30 days continuous in your iPhone and no heavy metal. Very green tech.

----------

Apple also recently hired an amorphous metal scientist to develop liquidmetal. It's not just to block competitors. Apple has made a large investment and will definetly expand use of material. Watch LQMT tomorrow on this recent news.

What?! Apple really doesn't do batteries and a battery increase that would allow a phone to be used for 30 days would be a game changer. And by that I mean a global change everything deal. It would mean electric cars would be mainstream, for example. So I don't believe Apple has achieved this holy grail of being able to store huge amounts of energy in a battery.

Asia8
Jun 19, 2012, 12:37 AM
Everyone is so focused on what they have heard has been made with this technology. It may not be much, but most first attempts at using (tests) a new technology are rather modest.

This would be a large move if/when they went ahead with it.

They would have to test the process and technology greatly before releasing anything. At least if the technology proved to be unreliable, in their case all they need to replace is a "paper clip" as most of you call it, not the end of the world.

However if they find the manufacturing process was efficient, cost effective and had enough benefits they would test it on more expensive equipment.

Even if at this point they were 100% confident in the technology and decided to go ahead with it, they also need to look at reproducing the production equipment on a huge scale to retro-fit their factories.

This may not be cost effective at this point. I also assume they don't want 2 different quality standards of one product depending on which machine it was built on.

They would have to wait till the release of a new/updated product and this would be another marketing angle for newer, light, higher durability products or whatever.

They would have to retrain all the workers at the factories to work with the new equipment.

It's not a simple or easy task and will take both time, and money

If the technology is cost effective and of quality, they will change, but it will be after a lot of testing is done and preparation has been made. Mass production is no simple task.

That being said, the iPhone 5 is said to be designed different to the iPhone 4, and hence could be where they'd use it for the cover or other such parts.

usptact
Jun 19, 2012, 02:48 AM
Again, what are the properties of those alloys? How do they compare to the existing aluminium materials? Lighter? Harder? Liquid? :D

----------

I think it is stupid.

Who knows what opportunities liquidmetal could have offered for use in technology, had other companies the opportunity to experiment with it. Instead, we have apple squatting on it and using it to make glorified paper clips. :rolleyes:

Yes, I said paper clip because a paper clip was exactly what I used to open up my sim tray. Apple paid millions for something I can get for free from my office?

Seriously, Apple, if you are not going to use it for anything meaningful, at least be gracious enough to give up the patent to someone who might? :(

Sounds nice but is orthogonal to Apple's business model (read: greed of money)

colour
Jun 19, 2012, 04:10 AM
god we almost forgot about this gimmick what ever happened to liquid metal macbook's ?

edit:

Answer is from the poster above.


Sounds nice but is orthogonal to Apple's business model (read: greed of money)

I hope you don't mind but I value your opinions and it will be my sig :)

Giuly
Jun 19, 2012, 05:25 AM
Don't you still get it? This stuff allows things to be build from metal the same way it's done with plastics now. The one company that wanted to manufacture their plastic laptops in metal to come closer to a MacBook (Hi, Sony) should have licensed this.

They didn't, but Apple does what others don't.

Enjoy cheap silver painted black plastic.

And as you're might be aware, iron is heavier than aluminum. Once they can injection-mold aluminum, you'll get your LM MacBook, but you won't see a difference unless you hold Apple stock.

KnightWRX
Jun 19, 2012, 06:31 AM
Don't you still get it? This stuff allows things to be build from metal the same way it's done with plastics now. The one company that wanted to manufacture their plastic laptops in metal to come closer to a MacBook (Hi, Sony) should have licensed this.

They didn't, but Apple does what others don't.

The problem isn't that Apple licensed it, it's that Apple took an exclusive license. Why even do that ? That's just cheap, especially if you're not going to do anything with it for a while.

----------

Once they can injection-mold aluminum, you'll get your LM MacBook, but you won't see a difference unless you hold Apple stock.

Cast aluminium does exist. Engine blocks have been made from it for the greater part of the last 3 decades.

JHankwitz
Jun 19, 2012, 07:18 AM
Liquidmetal sounds like a smoke and mirrors scam. All this time and money, and all they have to show for it is a tiny eject tool? Time to cut bait, not keep dumping new money on top of old in hopes of a pipe dream.

KnightWRX
Jun 19, 2012, 07:25 AM
Liquidmetal sounds like a smoke and mirrors scam. All this time and money, and all they have to show for it is a tiny eject tool? Time to cut bait, not keep dumping new money on top of old in hopes of a pipe dream.

They wanted it for the iPhone, but now they're afraid everyone is going to say they copied Samsung's LM phone ;)

JHankwitz
Jun 19, 2012, 07:29 AM
Apple has a recent patent to use liquidmetal in a fuel cell battery. They are in the verge of a battery that will last 30 days continuous in your iPhone and no heavy metal. Very green tech.[COLOR="#808080"]

Right, and I'm on the verge of a time machine powered by a flux capacitor. Send me the money!

Unfortunately, I certainly won't make as much with my invention as someone that creates this proposed 30 day battery that would totally revolutionize the auto industry, let alone computers.

Jjgibb0
Jun 19, 2012, 07:40 AM
What?! Apple really doesn't do batteries and a battery increase that would allow a phone to be used for 30 days would be a game changer. And by that I mean a global change everything deal. It would mean electric cars would be mainstream, for example. So I don't believe Apple has achieved this holy grail of being able to store huge amounts of energy in a battery.

It is true though. Anyone can search the US Patent office. Apple has a patent for a fuel cell battery using amorphous alloy (liquid metal). It does not store energy, it creates it from Hydrogen. This is nothing new. It's called a fuel cell. But apple seems to have successfully miniaturized it. IMO this is where you'll see apple use LM, not in the casing of the phone.

Jjgibb0
Jun 19, 2012, 07:59 AM
Right, and I'm on the verge of a time machine powered by a flux capacitor. Send me the money!

Unfortunately, I certainly won't make as much with my invention as someone that creates this proposed 30 day battery that would totally revolutionize the auto industry, let alone computers.

Here I'll make it easy on everyone. You will need to read to discern what Apple is saying, but this patent is for a miniature fuel cell. Soon you won't have to charge your devices every day.

BTW. Creating a 30 day battery for a phone is MUCH different than creating one for a car. The demands placed on a phone battery are exponential less that the demands places in a car battery.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=Amorphous.ABTX.&s2=Apple.ASNM.&OS=ABST/Amorphous+AND+AN/Apple&RS=ABST/Amorphous+AND+AN/Apple

knewsom
Jun 19, 2012, 10:56 AM
That makes no sense. If Apple sees no value in it, why would they feel threatened enough to want to block others from accessing it?:confused:

There must be a plan in place and Apple is just waiting until the conditions are right to release x product. ;)

I never said Apple didn't see any value in the product. Just that right now, there's more cost-effectiveness in continuing to manufacture with the techniques and tooling they developed for the unibody MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads rather than retooling to use LiquidMetal for the majority of their products. Either that, or they tried it and weren't 100% satisfied with it for whatever nitpicky reason - it might be something as simple as the tone of the metal, durability, feel, or hell even taste. If it brought significant advantages other than ease of manufacture, I guarantee they'd be using it already.

In either case, it makes sense to keep the license in case it makes more financial sense to use it in the future, and to keep competitors from building phones with beautiful metal form-factors that they currently cannot build without this technology. If you'll recall, the iPhone WAS plastic (like all those other smart phones) until Apple developed and patented the manufacturing techniques for unibody which enabled the iP4, iPad, etc. If they let the LiquidMetal tech be licensed by someone else, they'd lose a serious competitive edge in terms of manufacturing capability. Sure, it may not be as good as what they're currently using (like I said, I don't know), but it's unlikely the average consumer would know the difference, even if that's the case.

They didn't buy LiquidMetal so they could build something new and amazing that they couldn't build any other way. They bought it as a hedge bet. That's not to say that they won't find something really incredible to do with it some day, and I hope they do - but I don't think they're sitting around waiting to release some new "liquidmetal" device.

----------

It is true though. Anyone can search the US Patent office. Apple has a patent for a fuel cell battery using amorphous alloy (liquid metal). It does not store energy, it creates it from Hydrogen. This is nothing new. It's called a fuel cell. But apple seems to have successfully miniaturized it. IMO this is where you'll see apple use LM, not in the casing of the phone.

Ok, so it's not a battery, it's a fuel-cell. People have successfully miniaturized fuel-cells before (granted at high-costs). If they've worked out a way to do it cheaper, this is a great win for technology, but don't expect to see hydrogen-powered iPhones and MacBooks even if they DO last 30 days on a charge, for one very simple reason:

Where you gonna get yer Hydrogen there, bubba?

bedifferent
Jun 19, 2012, 11:14 AM
Terminator 2.... I hope future iPhones will shatter into a bunch of droplets when you drop them, and then reform themselves when the pieces mold back together.

"Yes, it can reassemble but that would require an AppleCare Plan for an additional $69, the 'Pro' version covers water damage for an additional $30." :p

(and hold the references to "SkyNet")

TallManNY
Jun 19, 2012, 11:44 AM
BTW. Creating a 30 day battery for a phone is MUCH different than creating one for a car. The demands placed on a phone battery are exponential less that the demands places in a car battery.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=Amorphous.ABTX.&s2=Apple.ASNM.&OS=ABST/Amorphous+AND+AN/Apple&RS=ABST/Amorphous+AND+AN/Apple

But car batteries can also be tens of thousands of times bigger than a phone battery. Seriously, if Apple increases storage capacity for batteries by 30 times and gets that performance in a portable size, it would change everything. Our entire electric grid could be reconfigured to rely on battery storage from erratic energy sources like wind and solar as well as baseload plants that run efficiently only at one full capacity setting. There would be no need for inefficient peak load plants and there would be less need for redundancy in energy systems to handle that one heat wave in August when all the ACs are going full blast.

Game changer. Also, basically what the entire world has been working on forever.

I.Love.Apple
Jun 19, 2012, 12:08 PM
There is an interesting article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/06/19/microsoft-surfaces-liquid-metal-is-not-the-same-as-apples-liquidmetal/?partner=yahootix)on Forbes about the use of liquid metal in Microsoft's Surface tablet. I explains the obvious: that while LiquidMetal might be trademarked, it covers only one specific formulation/technology but everyone can come up with their own way of producing liquid metal parts. The article also provides details about Microsoft's version of liquid metal. As I understand, it does the trick in terms of mechanical properties but might be expensive to produce (compared to Liquid Metal version). In any case, it looks like a very interesting development that might give Surface an edge against many competitors.

foodog
Jun 19, 2012, 01:01 PM
Nothing to see here, it's just Apple blocking others in the market from innovating further.

This doesn't stop anyone from innovating. They just need to create their own method of doing what liquid metal does.

KnightWRX
Jun 19, 2012, 02:07 PM
This doesn't stop anyone from innovating. They just need to create their own method of doing what liquid metal does.

Too bad that before 2010, they could freely license Caltech IP and use their Liquid Metal (which is 1 alloy with certain properties, amorphous metal alloys have been around since the 60s and are not exclusive to Caltech or "Liquid Metal").

benji888
Jun 20, 2012, 04:18 AM
*It would be helpful for most of you who, if you have not yet, *go to liquidmetal.com ... This is utterly NEW...PLastic was around for decades before they found a way to mass produce products with it. The sim tool (included for a limited run with the iPhone 3G) was simply a way of doing a first production test, nothing more.

If you take the SIM removal tool that is made from Liquid Metal and use a pair of wire cutters to cut it, you will generate a very noticeable spark. *Does anyone know why? *I don't and I am curious.

well, Apple did file a patent (as seen along this thread) for some type of battery technology, but, I personally, from reading about LM think that it could have multiple uses, and, perhaps Apple filed this patent first because they saw this innovation needed the most protection....

If you read about LiquidMetal, you will see that it is a new combination of alloys and the technology/way they are able to mold these alloys. Typically metal does not mold the way plastic does and so aluminum is produced another way to make iPods and MacBook unibodies. ONE THING you will notice, if you read, is that LM can be pigmented the way plastic is, so LM will have a color that goes all the way through, unlike the color that is only on the outside surface of aluminum iPods (which can scratch off). Of course, LM may take some time (months/years) to develop to the point of using for MacBooks, but, we may see iPods and iPhones with LM backs sooner...again, if you read, you will see that LM, UNLIKE aluminum, does not block radio waves, they pass through LM, so this would be a viable solution for encasing a phone, AND have more color options, and has much more potential than previous materials. (Perhaps, on purpose, or by accident, it is highly conductive and therefore could be used for battery technology, but, I know little about this.)

Cast aluminium does exist. *Engine blocks have been made from it for the greater part of the last 3 decades.
Yes, however, casting aluminum is not like casting plastic, this process does not work to produce small, precise items such as iPhone backs or MacBook unibodies. ...again, read liquidmetal.com and you will see that metals pull away from the mold as they cool, plastic does not do this, LM works much more like plastic to mold. It would seem that molding LiquidMetal like plastic would be a more efficient, perhaps less expensive way to produce Apple's products, and be a better material, while offering more colors as well.

Grey Area
Jun 20, 2012, 06:36 AM
Hi!

ONE THING you will notice, if you read, is that LM can be pigmented the way plastic is, so LM will have a color that goes all the way through, unlike the color that is only on the outside surface of aluminum iPods (which can scratch off).

I have studied the liquidmetal.com website as you recommended, and I could not find anything like this. Could you give a direct link?

again, if you read, you will see that LM, UNLIKE aluminum, does not block radio waves, they pass through LM, so this would be a viable solution for encasing a phone

Nor could I find this on liquidmetal.com. Could you give a link?

KnightWRX
Jun 20, 2012, 06:44 AM
Yes, however, casting aluminum is not like casting plastic, this process does not work to produce small, precise items such as iPhone backs or MacBook unibodies. ...again, read liquidmetal.com and you will see that metals pull away from the mold as they cool, plastic does not do this, LM works much more like plastic to mold. It would seem that molding LiquidMetal like plastic would be a more efficient, perhaps less expensive way to produce Apple's products, and be a better material, while offering more colors as well.

Aluminum parts can be casted to pretty exact specs and as pretty small parts (Apple did not always use CNC machining afterall). More colors ? Anodized alumimium can be made any color already pretty much.

Look, it might be cheaper, it might be better for reception, but frankly, as someone pointed out, the move is cheap by Apple as it blocks other players from using the material, some of which were already using it as far back as 2008.

This does not help innovation in the industry, it locks down innovation to a single vendor, one that seems more concerned about Sim ejection tools 4 years after others had shipped phones made of the stuff...

sad.

kdarling
Jun 20, 2012, 02:11 PM
If you read about LiquidMetal, you will see that it is a new combination of alloys and the technology/way they are able to mold these alloys. Typically metal does not mold the way plastic does ...

Of course, if they had called it "PlasticMetal", we wouldn't have everyone clamoring to have a phone made of it :)

"LiquidMetal" sounds so much more sexy.

...again, if you read, you will see that LM, UNLIKE aluminum, does not block radio waves, they pass through LM, so this would be a viable solution for encasing a phone, AND have more color options, and has much more potential than previous materials. (Perhaps, on purpose, or by accident, it is highly conductive and therefore could be used for battery technology, but, I know little about this.)

You have that backwards. It BLOCKS radio waves from passing through it.

What most people (mis)read was a comment by one of its inventors (a metal expert, not a radio guy) that the alloy could be made MORE conductive and PERHAPS all that extra metal could be used as part of an ANTENNA.

Grey Area
Jun 20, 2012, 03:37 PM
"LiquidMetal" sounds so much more sexy.

I somewhat think this is the main reason Apple wants it for themselves, they don't want others using that name.

The material itself is probably not all that spectacular, and there are others making similar stuff. I remember when LiquidMetal came up in the custom knife community about a decade ago, they are quick to notice new alloys. There was a hype for two months or so, and then the interest faded again when it became clear this was no new miracle metal.

That does not mean it is bad, but usually with alloys it seems to me that when you improve some aspects, you get drawbacks in others.

benji888
Jun 20, 2012, 05:11 PM
Hi!

I have studied the liquidmetal.com website as you recommended, and I could not find anything like this. Could you give a direct link?

Nor could I find this on liquidmetal.com. Could you give a link?

ok, I went to their website, but it has changed since I was on it some time ago. I do not know where I read that it could take pigment or dye, perhaps I misread something. :eek: ...if an engineer is reading this, do you know if adding color is possible?

I also thought I read that it does not block radio waves, however, I cannot find this now also. I could be wrong about this, too :eek: ...perhaps it had to do with the fact that it is conductive (though highly resistant) whereas aluminum is not. My error.

benji888
Jun 20, 2012, 05:23 PM
Of course, if they had called it "PlasticMetal", we wouldn't have everyone clamoring to have a phone made of it :)

"LiquidMetal" sounds so much more sexy.

...

You have that backwards. It BLOCKS radio waves from passing through it.

What most people (mis)read was a comment by one of its inventors (a metal expert, not a radio guy) that the alloy could be made MORE conductive and PERHAPS all that extra metal could be used as part of an ANTENNA.

Actually LiquidMetal is a metallic glass, though not transparent, the molding process is more similar to plastic than metal, but if they use glass in the name, I'm sure everyone would think it should be transparent. :p

...yes, I re-read about LiquidMetal and I think I misread that somewhere a while back, perhaps a comment from a forum, someone thought radio waves could pass through. :eek:

benji888
Jun 20, 2012, 05:36 PM
The material itself is probably not all that spectacular....

It's not as much the material as the process and the material. They have made something (it is a metallic glass, not really just metal) that is stronger and more durable than plastic (and some metals), yet items can be manufactured with a process similar to plastic, unlike aluminum or any other metals. They updated their website since I was on it some time ago and they have multiple uses for LM.


I digress, in doing some reading, it would seem that the more practical uses that Apple might use LM for could be an antenna or perhaps the inner frames of their various devices, where they use steel now (see link below). Maybe later we'll see a LM iPhone back (I want this). Although, I do not know why they filed a patent for battery or fuel cell use, perhaps this makes a better casing for fuel cell technology? Or maybe Apple filed this patent to distract people from what they are actually innovating with the material?:confused:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/why-we-shouldnt-get-too-excited-about-a-liquidmetal-iphone-5/19967

praktical
Jun 20, 2012, 05:42 PM
Terminator 2.... I hope future iPhones will shatter into a bunch of droplets when you drop them, and then reform themselves when the pieces mold back together.

Lol. That would be something to behold. I was really hoping to see in the new iPhone 5.